By Richard Dean MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Rangers have been struggling in 2014. It was Yu Darvish's turn to be subpar on Saturday night against the Astros.
The right-hander just didn't have it, from start to short finish in Saturday night's 8-3 loss to Houston. He didn't pitch like one of the American League's premier pitchers, which he is.
And Darvish's troubles occurred at Minute Maid Park, where he had not lost in his other three previous starts (all in 2013). A poor performance from Darvish, who failed to get out of Houston's four-run fifth inning, led to another Rangers defeat, and a second consecutive loss to the Astros.
A bright spot for the Rangers was Jim Adduci's first Major League home run. Adduci's two-run home run to right-center off Scott Feldman scored Daniel Robertson and reduced the Astros' lead to 6-2. Designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo had three hits for Texas.
Trouble started early for Darvish, who allowed two first-inning runs while throwing 31 pitches. The first batter Darvish faced was Robbie Grossman, the star of Houston's comeback win the night before.
Grossman walked on an 11-pitch at-bat, and scored on Jon Singleton's single to right. The Astros' second run came on an errant toss from second baseman Rougned Odor to shortstop Elvis Andrus, allowing Chris Carter to score from second.
The Astros had two hits off Darvish in each of the first two innings in building a 2-0 lead. Through three innings, Darvish had thrown 73 pitches, 46 for strikes.
Daniel Robertson replaced Mike Carp in left field to start the bottom of the third inning for the Rangers. Carp left the game with tightness in his left groin and is listed as day to day. In Carp's place, Robertson threw out Jake Marisnick trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the bottom of the fourth.
Singleton's no-out, two-run double down the right-field line gave the Astros a 4-0 lead in the fifth, and Matt Dominguez followed with a run-scoring single that gave the Astros a 5-0 lead, chasing Darvish from the game.
Darvish failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the fifth, allowing four hits. In four-plus innings that took 113 pitches (71 strikes), Darvish gave up six runs (five earned) and nine hits with a wild pitch. He struck out seven and walked four.
After loading the bases with one out in the seventh, the Rangers managed only one run on Andrus' sacrifice fly.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.